Sickening. This is what happens when you get to act like a financial institution without being subjected to the same regulations as a financial institution.
PayPal's customer service is reprehensible in this situation:
"I just had an hour long conversation with a jackass over there that was unbelievable," she tells us. "First he said that you can only use the Donate button if you're a nonprofit. I told them that was false; the PDF of instructions to use the Donate button only says 'worthy cause.' I pointed out that people have the donate button on their blogs to raise money for themselves, and he said, 'You can use the donate button to raise money for a sick cat, but not poor people.'"
After forcing her to painstakingly refund all the donated money (which PayPal took a nice transaction fee on), they decided to kick her where it hurts:
PayPal then froze Helen's personal account, including the revenue for her book, which has absolutely nothing to do with any of the charitable fundraising done on the site.
We know who is playing the role of grinch this Christmas.
UPDATE: Bowing to the negative press they have been receiving, PayPal has released the funds and reversed their position. This time. How often does this kind under-handed behaviour happen? It shouldn't take internet outrage to force a company to behave decently.